***TRADING STANDARDS WARNING***
Trading Standards have received reports of consumers and businesses in the Dumfries and Galloway area receiving telephone calls claiming to be from debt collection agencies. The phone calls state that the consumer or business has an upcoming court case, which will cost tens of thousands of pounds to settle.
If you receive this type of phonecall, our advice is to terminate the call and do not give the caller any personal information (such as bank details etc) under any circumstances. Genuine businesses do not operate in this way and will never as you for personal details or payment over the phone.
Please report any suspicious calls to Trading Standards on 08454 04 05 06, or Action Fraud on 0300 123 4040.
We are warning the public of a new phone scam that has been reported across the UK, including in Dumfries and Galloway.
A member of the public, from the Thornhill area, received a call on his mobile from his wife's mobile number, on answering the call a male with a foreign sounding accent has introduced himself as a Doctor stating that his wife had been in a car accident and required emergency surgery. However, the procedure she required was not covered under NHS budgets and he requested bank details to release the required funds.
His wife received a similar call, again appearing to come from her husband's mobile phone number stating money was required urgently for medical care.Thankfully, neither victim has fallen for the scam however we have reports of this scam being repeated across the UK.
The perpetrators appear to be using sophisticated methods to link two mobile numbers together, in order to achieve the necessary impact, to fulfil their scam.
This incident has been distressing for the parties involved, but luckily no bank details were given out. Please make friends and relatives aware of this incident, especially the more vulnerable.
SCAM - TV Licence Refund Notification
Warning - TV Licence Refund Notification
One of our NW members has reported a recent TV Licence Refund SCAM sent by email and referring to a pending refund. It reads:
“After the last annual calculation we have determined that you are eligible to receive a TV Licensing refund of 72.48 GBP. Due to invalid account details records, we were unable to credit your account. Please submit the TV Licensing refund request and allow 5-10 working days to be credited your account. Click “Refund Me Now” and follow the steps in order to process your request. NOTE: For security reasons, we will record your IP address, the date and time. Deliberate wrong inputs are criminally pursued.”
What Is Phishing
Phishing is a type of attack that uses email or a messaging service to fool you into taking an action you should not take, such as clicking on a malicious link, sharing your password, or opening an infected email attachment. Attackers work hard to make these messages convincing and tap your emotional triggers, such as urgency or curiosity. They can make them look like they came from someone or something you know, such as a friend or a trusted company you frequently use. They could even add logos of your bank or forge the email address so the message appears more legitimate. Attackers then send these messages to millions of people. They do not know who will take the bait, all they know is the more they send, the more people will fall victim.
In almost all cases, opening and reading an email or message is fine. For a phishing attack to work, the bad guys need to trick you into doing something. Fortunately, there are clues that a message is an attack. Here are the most common ones:
- A tremendous sense of urgency that demands “immediate action” before something bad happens, like threatening to close an account or send you to jail. The attacker wants to rush you into making a mistake.
- Pressuring you to bypass or ignore your policies or procedures at work.
- A strong sense of curiosity or something that is too good to be true. (No, you did not win the lottery.)
- A generic salutation like “Dear Customer.” Most companies, colleagues or friends contacting you know your name.
- Requesting highly sensitive information, such as your credit card number, password, or any other information that a legitimate sender should already know.
- The message says it comes from an official organisation, but has poor grammar or spelling or uses a personal email address like @gmail.com.
- The message comes from an official email but has a Reply-To address going to someone’s personal email account.
- You receive a message from someone you know, but the tone or wording just does not sound like him or her. If you are suspicious, call the sender to verify they sent it. It is easy for a cyber attacker to create a message that appears to be from a friend or colleague.
Ultimately, common sense is your best defence. If an email or message seems odd, suspicious, or too good to be true, it may be a phishing attack.
If you have been a victim please contact Police on 101, Action Fraud or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 if you would prefer to remain anonymous
***TRADING STANDARDS WARNING***
Following several recent complaints of rogue traders operating across the Dumfries and Galloway area, Trading Standards are once again reminding local residents not to engage with cold-callers.
We would urge all householders to be aware that even if a company has a brochure and company name on a van, this does not always mean they are a reliable trader. For any home improvement works, our advice is to always use a Trusted Trader. www.dumgal.gov.uk/trustedtrader.
Please be mindful of elderly or vulnerable friends, family and neighbours, and pass this advice on to them. If they genuinely need work doing, stay with them while a trader is there, removing any confusion as to what needs doing or has been agreed.
If you have been called in this way and require further advice, or simply want to report the matter, please contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06, or via the ‘Report It’ button the Council Website: http://bit.ly/2EcmlmR
Alternatively, you can contact Police Scotland on 101.
Remember: if in doubt, keep them out!
Council Tax Scam Calls.
False claims of Telephone Preference Service:
Fraudsters are cold-calling victims, falsely stating that they are calling from one of the well-known UK telecommunication service providers. They call victims claiming to provide a ‘Telephone Preference Service’ - an enhanced call-barring service, which includes barring international call centres.
The fraudsters ask victims to confirm/provide their bank account details, informing them that there is a one-off charge for the service. Victims instead see monthly debits deducted from their accounts, which they have not authorised. The fraudsters often target elderly victims.
In all instances, direct debits are set up without following proper procedure. The victim is not sent written confirmation of the direct debit instruction, which is supposed to be sent within three days.
On occasions when victims attempted to call back, the telephone number provided by the fraudster was either unable to be reached or the victim’s direct debit cancellation request was refused.
During 2017, there were 493 Action Fraud Reports relating to this fraud.
- There is only one Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The TPS is the only official UK 'do-not-call' register for opting out of live telesales calls. It is FREE to sign-up to the register. TPS never charge for registration. You can register for this service at http://www.tpsonline.org.uk.
- You will receive postal confirmation of genuine direct debits. If you notice unauthorised payments leaving your account, you should contact your bank promptly.
- Always be wary of providing personal information, or confirming that personal information the caller already claims to hold is correct. Always be certain that you know who you talking to. If in doubt hang up immediately.
If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Message Sent By
Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)
We have been made aware that scammers have been making bogus calls to people in the region claiming to be from our Council Tax Service, saying the resident is ‘paying too much’ and wanting to check the residents personal details.
This is a recognised scam and people should be aware. People are targeted once Council Tax notices have been sent out.
If you receive a suspicious call please report scams to the national consumer helpline on 0345 404 0506.
Remember you can have your Council Tax checked at: www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/15277/Council-tax-enquiry-form
If you have any elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends or neighbours, please make them aware of this issue.
If the caller becomes aggressive, please contact Police Scotland on 101.
TRADING STANDARDS WARNING
Trading Standards are aware that residents in the local area are being targeted by phonecalls from individuals purporting to be from agencies such as banks, HMRC, police, telephone & internet providers and other organisations.
If you receive this type of phonecall, our advice is to terminate the call and do not give the caller any personal information (such as bank details etc) under any circumstances. Genuine businesses do not operate in this way and will never as you for personal details over the phone.
Please report any suspicious calls to Trading Standards on 08454 04 05 06.
***TRADING STANDARDS WARNING***
Trading Standards have received reports of doorstep and telephone callers in the local area offering home improvement services, in particular driveway work.
As always, we would advise all residents not to engage with doorstep callers. These callers will often use persuasive or aggressive tactics to get householders to agree to have work done, then charge far more than was quoted for poor quality work. They also often fail to provide a legally required cancellation notice which enables the householder to cancel the work within a 14 day cooling off period. For any home improvement works, we would always encourage you to use a Trusted Trader: www.dumgal.gov.uk/trustedtrader
If you have been called in this way and require further advice, or simply want to report the matter, please contact us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06, or alternatively contact Police Scotland on 101.
Remember: if in doubt, keep them out!
Scammers don’t appear to have let up over the festive period. In the Stranraer and Kirkcolm areas victims have been targeted in a banking scam where a telephone caller tried to get them to transfer funds into a named bank account, as apparently there was fraudulent activity on their own account. Needless to say this was not the case. Funds were about to be transferred when the scam was spotted by sharp eyed banking staff. Again this morning a similar scam has been tried in the Portpatrick area. Please be alert to such calls. Banks do not make these type of cold calls and do not carry out their business in this manner.
Individuals and businesses are being warned to watch out for cold calls and online contact from fraudsters who are offering victims the opportunity to apply for Government grants for an advance fee.
To make the grants look legitimate fraudsters have set up bogus companies and convincing looking websites that claim to be operating on behalf of the UK Government.
Fraudsters cold call businesses and individuals offering the grant and if they’re interested direct them to fill out an online application form with their personal information.
Once the fraudsters have that information they’ll contact back victims and congratulate them on being accepted onto the grant programme.
Pre-paid credit cards
Applicants are then asked to provide identification and are instructed to get a pre-paid credit card to deposit their own contribution to the fake Government grant scheme. Fraudsters will then contact victims on the phone or are emailed and asked for the details of their pre-paid credit card and copies of statements to in order for them to add the grant funds.
Of course the grant funds are never given by the fraudsters and the money that’s been loaded by the victim onto the card is stolen.
If you receive one of these calls, hang up immediately and report it to us. We’ve already taken down one website fraudsters have been using to commit this fraud and are working with Companies House to combat this issue.
How to protect yourself:
Be wary of unsolicited callers implying that you can apply for grants. You should never have to pay to receive a government grant, and they definitely won’t instruct you to obtain a pre-paid credit card. The government should have all the information they need if a genuine grant application was submitted, therefore any requests for personal or banking information either over the phone or online should be refused.
What to do if you’re a victim:
- If you think your bank or personal details have been compromised or if you believe you have been defrauded contact your bank immediately.
- Stop all communication with the ‘agency’ but make a note of their details and report it to Action Fraud.
- If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Trading Standards Advice
With deals on offer for everything from electronic gadgets to designer clothing, it can be difficult to spot the difference between a genuine bargain and goods which could be counterfeit, or may not even exist. Follow our tips to avoid being caught out by scammers this Black Friday.
Only use online retailers that you know of and trust. For major brands always go to the official website to find a list of authorised sellers.
Check delivery, warranty and returns policies – be especially careful when purchasing expensive items.
Do not respond to or open links in e-mails from unknown sources, no matter how good the offer may sound.
Inheritance fraud / Scam
Inheritance fraud is when you are told that someone very rich has died and you’re in line to receive a huge inheritance.
A fraudster who claims to be a lawyer from overseas or some other legal official sends you an email or a letter. They tell you that a person sharing your family name has died and left behind a vast amount of money. (one circulating presently in Scotland is purporting to be a bank representative from the Guangdong Nanyue Bank in Hong Kong)
The lawyer or official is administering the inheritance and has been unable to identify any of the dead person’s relatives. As a result, the money will go to the government. The lawyer or official suggests that, because you share the same family name as the deceased, he could pay the inheritance to you. You could then split the money between you, rather than handing it over to the government.
The fraudsters will emphasise the need to adhere to strict instructions. To hurry you into making a hasty decision, they will also stress the need to act quickly.
However, there is no inheritance and the person contacting you isn’t a lawyer or legal official.
If you respond to the fraudsters, they’ll ask you to pay various fees – for example: taxes, legal fees, banking fees etc. – so they can release your non-existent inheritance.
Each time you make a payment, the fraudsters will come up with a reason why the inheritance can’t be paid out unless you make another payment. If you ask, they will also give you reasons why the fees can’t be taken from your inheritance and have to be paid upfront.
If you become reluctant to pay a fee or suggest you can’t afford it, the fraudsters will put pressure on you by reminding you how close you are to receiving a sum of money much greater than the fees you’ve already handed over, and of how much you’ve already paid out.
The fraudsters may also ask for your bank details so they can pay the inheritance directly into your bank account. But, if you hand over your bank details, the fraudsters can use them to empty your account.
Are you a victim of inheritance fraud?
- You’ve received an email or letter informing you that someone you may be related to has died without leaving a will and you may be in line to inherit and
- You’ve paid fees to ‘research specialists’ who offer to sell you an estate report that includes information on the inheritance and how you can claim it.
What should you do if you’re a victim of inheritance Fraud.
- End all further contact with the fraudsters.
- Don’t send them any more money.
- Don’t give them your bank details.
- If you have already given the fraudsters your bank account details, alert your bank immediately.
- If you receive any threats from the fraudsters once you have stopped co-operating with them, alert the police immediately.
- Be aware that you’re now likely to be a target for other frauds. Fraudsters often share details about people they have successfully targeted or approached, using different identities to commit further frauds.
- People who have already fallen victim to fraudsters are particularly vulnerable to the fraud recovery fraud. This is when fraudsters contact people who’ve already lost money through fraud and claim to be law enforcement officers or lawyers. They’ll advise the victim that they can help them recover their lost money – but request a fee.
Protect yourself and others against inheritance fraud
- Although there are legitimate companies who make a living by tracking down heirs, they don’t do it in this way. If you’re asked for a fee for a report, it’s very likely to be bogus.
- Letters/documents provided by the fraudsters are generally badly written. Look out for spelling mistakes and poor grammar.
- Beware if you are asked to contact a webmail address such as @Yahoo or @Hotmail. As a rule, legitimate law firms do not use them.
- A legitimate law firm is highly unlikely to pay out an inheritance to someone who isn’t entitled to it. Any offer of a payout indicates that someone is up to no good.
- Fraudsters often claim that the person who has died was the victim of a well-publicised incident, such as a plane crash. To add credibility, they may even use the identity of someone who really did die in the incident
- Share this information
If you are a victim of a fraud contact Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. Further advice can also be found on the Action Fraud website www.actionfraud.org.uk
FUNERAL SCAM ALERT
Police Scotland officers in Dumfries and Galloway want to alert the community to a new scam which is currently doing the rounds. In the latest scam the victim receives a telephone call from an individual pertaining to be from a company selling funeral plans, when pressed further the individual advises they are from the local council. This is not the case and clearly the use of the ‘local council’ by name is an attempt to give the scam some credibility.
Community Officer Constable Clark Logie says. “Although the cover story changes, as with all scams the person on the other end of the phone is intent on obtaining a financial gain from you, whether it be banking details or payment for a product or service that never materialises.
“Constable Logie continues “The basic advice is do not deal with Cold Callers, if you require a product, service or other work carried out contact reputable companies and get a minimum of three quotes. Never give out personal or banking details to cold callers, irrespective of how they contact you, whether they attend at your door, contact you by telephone or by E mail.”
received from David Mundell MP:
We have had a constituent in the office today who has received a very convincing letter allegedly from DWP regarding a Pension Credits review. However when you call the number on the letter it claims no operators are free and asks you to leave your National Insurance number, name and address. This is not what the DWP do and no one should ever provide these details over the phone.
Anyone who receives such a letter should not call the number given. You can check with the Pension Service regarding any change of circumstances on 0345 606 0265.
DELIVERY NOTES - CAUTION
Action Fraud have issued a warning after they became aware of a potential fraud which involves misleading delivery cards being posted through letterboxes.
The ‘something for you’ cards arriving through letterboxes are designed to look like they have come from Royal Mail. The cards, which lack the Royal Mail logo, look almost identical to the ‘something for you’ slips that are posted through homes when a delivery can’t be made.
To organise a redelivery the cards urge recipients to call a 0208 number, which is not registered to Royal Mail. After ringing the number the automated message asks for your details and consignment number.
We haven't had any reports of these cards being delievered in Dumfries and Galloway however it's something the public should be alert too.
Trading Standards Warning
Trading Standards have received a number of reports of potential rogue traders operating in the Dumfriesshire area, cold-calling residents to offer home improvement and driveway work.
Our advice is always to avoid contracting with doorstep callers, as their work can often be unnecessary, carried out to a poor standard and overpriced.
Please report any concerns or suspicious callers to Trading Standards on 03454 04 05 06, or to Police Scotland on 101.
Remember: If in doubt, keep them out!